Dark Paradise Cover.jpg
Lana Del Rey
Writer(s) Lana Del Rey
Rick Nowels
Producer(s) Emile Haynie
Alternate producer(s) Rick Nowels (co-prod./radio mix/demo 2)
Devrim Karaoğlu (radio mix)
Björn Yttling (demo 1)
Released March 1, 2013
Length 4:03
(See official versions)
From Btdogo.png
Single(s) "Video Games"
"Born to Die"
"Blue Jeans"
"Summertime Sadness"
"National Anthem"
"Dark Paradise"
Promotional single(s) "Off to the Races"
"Carmen"
Singles chronology
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"Ride"

Dark Paradise Cover.jpg

"Dark Paradise"

YB cover.jpg

"Young and Beautiful"

Born to Die track listing
"National Anthem" "Radio"

"Dark Paradise" (also registered as "Year of Summer" and not to be confused with "Paradise") is a song from Lana Del Rey's debut major-label album, Born to Die. It was written with Rick Nowels, with production fronted by Emile Haynie and co-production by Nowels. It was released as the album's sixth single on March 1, 2013, exclusively in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Writing and inspiration[edit | edit source]

The song is thought by fans to be written about Del Rey's past lover K and his death, although this is not definitely confirmed. There are some themes in the track that can provide evidence to this theory, though. The song contains references to Del Rey's love of someone who has passed away, and her desire to join him.

Del Rey originally recorded a demo of the song containing differed lyrics and production while working on Born to Die. This version was recorded on September 24, 2011 in New York, and was produced by Björn Yttling.[1] Del Rey and Yttling wrote the verses and recorded the drums in a two hour session. Lyrically and sonically, the second demo is similar to the radio mix.

The song follows a similar sound to other songs on Born to Die, with orchestral production and a mid-tempo ballad structure. It contains male background vocals of a spoken line from a live performance of "Mary Jane" by Rick James, also heard in "Lolita", "Blue Jeans", "Without You" and "National Anthem". It has a tempo of 120 beats-per-minute, making it one of the fastest songs on the album. The key of the song is C♯ minor.

Critical reception[edit | edit source]

The song garnered mixed reviews from critics. Most critical reviews came from the melodramatic tone of the song, along with the lyrical content and repetitive production. Billboard gave the song a negative review, saying that "fatigue sets in" when this song comes up on the album, and that the song "would be a subpar ballad for Del Rey" even if she had never released "Blue Jeans" or "Video Games".[2] Jaime Gill from BBC Music used the song as an example as why Born to Die isn't perfect, saying that "it slumps slightly towards the end, and the glossy trip-hop production grows wearying on lesser [G]othic melodramas like Dark Paradise."[3] David Edwards from Drowned in Sound said along with "Carmen" that they weren't the best tracks on the album, saying "The dreary fallen angel whimsy of ‘Carmen’ sums up precisely the unfocused drift that critics often use to malign her and on songs such as ‘Dark Paradise’, the caricature extends beyond our empathy."[4]

On the other hand, many critics believed that the criticism towards the song attracted it as a standout towards the album. Los Angeles Times named it among the best tracks on the album along with "Video Games" and "Summertime Sadness".[5] MuuMuse highlighted the album as a standout, saying "Yet beneath the song’s gothic exterior lies an deeply romantic sentiment, suggesting that love trumps all circumstances–even death [...]"[6]

Live performances[edit | edit source]

"Dark Paradise" was performed for the first known time at The Glasslands Gallery on September 14, 2011, before the release of Born to Die. This live performance features alternate lyrics. A short clip of the performance exists online.[7] Del Rey performed the song on various dates of the 2013 Paradise Tour, and earlier. On April 2, 2018 in Sydney, Australia, a brief a cappella of the song was performed, and again on April 13 in Rome, Italy per crowd request, as part of the LA to the Moon Tour.

Use in media[edit | edit source]

On October 15, 2013, the song was used for the TV series The Originals in the episode "Tangled Up In Blue".[8]

Cross-references[edit | edit source]

Music video[edit | edit source]

During an interview on June 21, 2012, Del Rey stated that she planned to record a music video for the song for release in September, but the video did not come to fruition.

Official versions[edit | edit source]

  • Album version — 4:03
    • Instrumental version — 4:00
  • Radio mix — 3:52
  • Demo version 1 — 2:26
  • Demo version 2 — 3:58

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

Album version[edit | edit source]

All my friends tell me I should move on
I'm lying in the ocean singing your song
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh
That's how you sang it

Loving you forever can't be wrong
Even though you're not here, won't move on
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh
That's how we played it

And there's no remedy for memory, your face is like a melody
It won't leave my head
Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine
But I wish I was dead

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side

All my friends ask me why I stay strong
Tell 'em when you find true love, it lives on
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh
That's why I stay here

And there's no remedy for memory, your face is like a melody
It won't leave my head
Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine
But I wish I was dead

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah.
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah.
I don't want to wake up from this tonight

There's no relief, I see you in my sleep
And everybody's rushing me, but I can feel you touching me
There's no release, I feel you in my dreams
Telling me I’m fine

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight

Demo version one[edit | edit source]

I got the ice, you got the fire
I got the stuff to take you higher
"Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh"
That's how you played it

I got the brains, you got the money
This is a race, let's go fast, honey
"Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh"
That's how you played it

C'mon, pretty baby, I'll be takin' you down
They say you got crazy like all over town

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

I got the brains, you got the money
This is a race, let's go fast, honey
"Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh"
That's how you played it

C'mon, pretty baby, I'll be takin' you down
They say you got crazy like all over town

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't wanna wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't wanna wake up from this tonight

Demo version two[edit | edit source]

All my friends tell me I should move on
I'm lyin' in the ocean singin' your song
"Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh"
That's how you sang it

Loving you forever can't be wrong
Even though you're not here, won't move on
"Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh"
That's how you played it

And there's no remedy for memory
Your face is like a melody, it won't leave my head
Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine
But I wish I was dead (dead like you)

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight

All my friends ask me why I stay strong
Tell 'em when you find true love, it lives on
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ahhh
That's why I stay here

Cause there's no remedy for memory
Your face is like a melody, it won't leave my head
Your soul is haunting me and telling me that everything is fine,
But I wish I was dead (dead like you)

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight

There's no relief, I see you in my sleep
And everybody's rushing me, but I can feel you touching me
There's no release, I feel you in my dreams
Telling me I'm fine

Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
I'm scared that you won't be waiting on the other side
(So tell me)
Every time I close my eyes, it's like a dark paradise
No one compares to you
But there's no you, except in my dreams tonight

Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight
Oh-oh-oh-oh-hah-hah-hah-hah
I don't want to wake up from this tonight

Commercial release[edit | edit source]

Digital release[edit | edit source]

Dark Paradise - Single
Dark Paradise Cover.jpg Label: Universal Music
Format: Digital download
Released: March 1, 2013
Barcode: None
Photography: Nicole Nodland
Design: Unknown
Dark Paradise (Parov Stelar Remix) - Single
Parov Stelar Remix.jpg Label: Universal Music
Format: Digital download
Released: 2013
Barcode: None
Photography: Nicole Nodland
Design: Unknown

Physical release[edit | edit source]

Germany (LC-14513)
Dark Paradise Cover.jpg Label: Vertigo
Format: CD in slimcase
Released: March 1, 2013
Barcode: 0602537325719
Photography: Nicole Nodland
Design: Unknown    

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Official remixes[edit | edit source]

  • Parov Stelar Remix — 4:21

Promotional release[edit | edit source]

Dark Paradise CD by Vertigo in Germany[edit source]

DP4.jpg
DP5.jpg
DP6.jpg

Credits[edit | edit source]

Personnel
  • Lana Del Rey — vocals, songwriting
  • Rick Nowels — songwriting, co-production, guitar
  • Emile Haynie — production, drums, keyboards
  • Larry Gold — strings arrangement and conduction
  • Steve Tirpak — strings assistance
  • Maria Vidal — additional vocals
  • Patrick Warren — chamberlain strings
  • Devrim Karaoglu — additional synths, orchestral drums, production (Radio Mix)
  • Dean Reid — pads
  • Manny Marroquin — mixing
  • Erik Madrid & Chris Galland — mixing assistance
  • John Davis — mastering
  • Björn Yttling — songwriting, production (Demo Version 1)
Technical
  • Published by EMI
  • Mastered at Metropolis Mastering, London, United Kingdom

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Germany (Official German Charts)[9] 45
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100)[10] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[11] 48
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 42

References[edit | edit source]

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